A cold spell that spread across China last week broke records on Sunday, the coldest day the country says it has ever documented.
The temperature in Mohe, a city in northern China's Heilongjiang province, dropped to -53 °C (-63.4F) on Jan. 22, according to a post published on the official social media account of the Heilongjiang Meteorological Bureau. That beat the country's previous record low of -52.3°C (-62.1F), which occurred in 1969.
Twelve weather stations in Heilongjiang also reported temperatures close to or below their own low-temperature records this past weekend, the bureau said.
The cold snap is expected to continue this week, with temperatures in some parts of Jilin province continuing to drop by as much as 16°C (28.8F) over the next few days, according to the China Meteorological Administration.
The eastern region of Yunnan province, a popular tourist destination known for its warm winters, is expected to see temperatures falling to 0C on Jan. 25. In January 2022, average temperatures there were around 3°C to 14°C (roughly 37F to 57F).
Just a few months ago, China was still experiencing the impacts of an intense summer heat wave that prompted power cuts and temporarily dried up rivers critical for trade. August's average temperature was 22.4°C (72F), the highest since China's complete climate record started in 1961. By late November, however, blizzards and freezing temperatures were causing livestock deaths around the country.
Indeed, climate change is causing an increase in both average temperatures and the frequency of extreme weather events around the world. In Europe, heat waves are proving five to 10 times more intense than a century ago. In California, torrential rain from "atmospheric rivers" this month turned a drought-hit region into a flood zone, forcing residents to flee. Last year also marked the sixth consecutive above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, generating so many powerful storms that meteorologists ran out of names for them. In 28 countries, 2022 was the warmest year ever recorded.